When choosing a CDL school or truck driver training program, it’s important to make sure the school fits your needs and goals. The best way to do that is to ask questions, but not just the obvious ones.
For example, a school may offer assistance in finding you a place to stay while you’re in training, which could be a huge help if you’re not familiar with the area.
The problem is that since you haven’t gone through the program yet, you might not know to ask about those accommodations or other offers that would benefit you.
As you can see, knowing which questions to ask will help you choose the training program that’s right for you. In turn, the right school can set you up for success throughout your career.
So with that in mind, here are 5 not-so-obvious questions you should ask when choosing a CDL training school:
1. Is there tuition reimbursement?
Knowing how you’re going to pay for your training is important. That’s obvious. What many people may not realize, though, is that it’s actually possible to have most of your training costs covered by your future employer.
It’s called “tuition reimbursement,” and some schools work with carriers that can offer it.
By asking schools about tuition reimbursement, you may be able to choose a better training program at a much more reasonable price. At Roadmaster Drivers School, for example, most of our carriers offer tuition reimbursement where they will pay back up to 90% of tuition for qualified graduates.
2. How long does it take to get a job after training?
Once you get your Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL A), you don’t want to be stuck wondering, “OK. Now what?”
That’s why you’ll want to ask the school about its CDL Job Placement Department and how long job placement takes.
To give you an idea of what a good Job Placement Department looks like, Roadmaster’s works with 17 of the nation’s top carriers to help our graduates find a great start in the trucking industry. In fact, most Roadmaster students are pre-hired during training! That way, they can start their new career right after they graduate.
3. Is the school licensed and does it belong to a reputable industry association?
It’s not always easy to discern a legitimate CDL training school from a less reputable program when searching online. Two schools may seem comparable, but there are a few ways you can tell the difference and avoid choosing the wrong one.
One way is by looking at the price. If a training program’s cost seems too good to be true, it just might be. As with most things in life, you often end up getting what you pay for.
An even better way to tell the difference, though, is to see which school is properly licensed. That way, you know that the instruction and training you’ll receive meets a certain standard.
Going a step further, a really good school will belong to a reputable Trucking Industry association. Membership in such organizations usually isn’t required by law, so belonging to an association is a sign that the school strives to go above and beyond the minimum requirements to better serve its students.
For example, not only are all Roadmaster Drivers School locations licensed by the appropriate state agencies, but also Roadmaster is a member of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA).
4. Does the school accept benefits for returning veterans?
If you’re a military veteran, first let us say: Thank you for your service to our country!
Now, for military veterans it’s important to make sure that the CDL training school accepts the Post 9/11 GI Bill. You’ll want to find that out first, before you spend any time looking into a school, because it could impact your decision from a financial standpoint.
Once you know whether or not a school accepts the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you’ll need to file for your benefits and gather the necessary paperwork.
At Roadmaster, we accept our military’s Post 9/11 GI Bill. Plus, our trained Admissions Representatives will explain which paperwork we need and will give you the links to file for your benefits.
5. What if the school I want to attend is too far away?
How far away a school is from where you live may impact your choice of program, but it doesn’t always have to.
If you find a great program that’s far away or even in another state, don’t be afraid to ask the school if they can help you arrange discounted accommodations.
Fortunately, all Roadmaster locations can help with these discounted arrangements (as needed) which can be rolled into the student’s loan if needed. Students in the Roadmaster network of schools receive a discounted rate at select local hotels during training. The best part? Your Roadmaster Admissions Representative will make all the arrangements for you!
These five questions should help you on your way to gathering important information, but the best thing you could do is to engage in an open conversation with the school’s representatives. That way, not only will you get a feel for the school, but also the school can get to know you.
Once the school is familiar with your particular circumstances, they can tell you about any special programs, assistance and benefits they offer that pertain specifically to you.